Monday, March 30, 2009

The colors of Guatemala

To say that Guatemala is a colorful place would be understatement! Colors are everywhere here - in the beautiful woven cloth of the indigenous people, the beautiful carpets of flowers used to celebrate the Easter season, and the flowers that even now during the dry season bloom in abundance. Please enjoy the photos below, taken by our friend Matt, that showcase the beautiful colors of Guatemala.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The littlest soccer players

Casa Shalom's youngest kids show off their skills!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Similar to the puzzle that was put together by the Rayos, the Embajadores (boys 13 - 18) got a chance to create a masterpiece of their own. The boys, with the help of the Yakima team, put together a castle!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pirate puzzle with the Rayos

The Rayos (boys ages 9 - 14) had a great time putting together a 3D puzzle of a pirate ship with the group from Yakima, WA! Each group was assigned a section of the boat and when each group had completed its section, the entire boat was put together. Photo 1:Edwin and Bethany work on the back of the ship Photo 2: Marvin shows off his contribution Photo 3: Edwin and Jose Alfredo work on the boat Photo 4: Eddy, Martin, Obed and Gary show off their completed part of the boat Photo 5: The Yakima team and the Rayos with the completed ship.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The work on the dining hall roof has begun! Today, all the old roof pieces were removed and part of the new tin pieces were nailed in place. Photos 1 and 2: the Yakima, WA team works hard to remove the old roof Photo 3: Victor tries on some knee pads for size!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


The team from Yakima accompanied all the children to church this morning and then spent part of the afternoon in the baby house, singing songs and making hand puppets! Tomorrow, the hard work of replacing the kitchen's roof will begin.
Photo 1: Gary leading a chorus of "I'm in the Lord's Army" 2: Cesar shows off his finished puppet 3:Heidi with Evelyn, Sarai, and their puppets 4 and 5: The kids and their new toys Video: puppet time!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Moving on

This past week, 3 wonderful young ladies moved on from life at Casa Shalom. Dora, Jacinta and Jennifer, all in their early 20's, have moved to Antigua to be part of a ministry called Casa Esperanza (House of Hope). Casa Esperanza is a home that serves young women who have grown up in orphanages and helps prepare them for life beyond a group home. Growing up in an orphanage, many girls lack basic life skills like opening a bank account, getting a job or finding a place to live. Because of their lack of skills, they often fall into drug use or end up pregnant shortly after they leave the orphanage. This ministry uses a 3-step program to transition them into the outside world. By phase 3, the girls will have found a job and will have a place of their own to live, all with the support of Casa Esperanza. Please keep Dora, Jenny and Jacinta in your prayers as they make this transition.

Also, the 6-person team from Christian Life Center in Yakima, WA, arrived today to minister for a week at Casa Shalom. The team will be replacing the roof on the kitchen and will be ministering to the kids each evening. Please keep their team in your prayers over the next week.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday's Featured Child

This Friday's Featured Child is Rolando! Rolando is 11-years-old and the last of our group of 4 brothers (the others being Angel, Rosendo and Victor) that still needs a sponsor! Rolando is a sweet, fun boy who loves to play with race cars and marbles! Like his 3 brothers, Rolando came to live at Casa Shalom several years ago when they were rescued from Guatemala City's largest garbage dump, where they'd been living with their family.
If you'd like to help Casa Shalom care for Rolando by becoming his sponsor, your $30/month donation can help us provide him with food, clothing and medical care. You can also get to know Rolando through letters, photos and emails! To become Rolando's sponsor, please email us at

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Jorge Mario!

Today is director Jorge Mario's birthday. Please say a prayer for him on his special day! The Life Academy group also left today, to the sadness of the Casa Shalom kids. We appreciate so much all their hard work and generosity!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Prayer and giving

We all got quite a scare today when little Maria, one of Casa Shalom's newest and youngest residents, took a fall in her house. She hit her head and started seizing. She was unable to breathe, started turning purple, and was rushed to the hospital. The Life Academy kids gathered to pray for her, and continued praying until we heard that Maria was going to be ok! Her airways were opened and some preliminary tests were conducted to find out why she had a seizure. More in-depth tests were needed, and when I mentioned this to Life Academy, they began reaching into their pockets and book bags and pulling out money to cover the costs of Maria's tests. Within a minute, we had enough to cover the entire cost!

The Life Academy students engaged in some serious prayer and some serious generosity. We are so grateful that the Lord has used them in these very important ways!

Photos: 1 - David pushing Victor 2- Carlos found this giant rhinoceros beetle and tormented the ladies with it 3 - The beetle up close 4 and 5 - Magnetic darts with Jose Ramiro and Kevin 6 - Giggles during Monday night devotions 7 - Devotions with the boys

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Party at Rio Bravo

Yesterday was full of more work and more play for the kids of Life Academy and the Casa Shalom kids! Today, we, along with 6 piñatas and boatloads of candy, traveled to San Jose Rio Bravo to minister to the needy children there. As we've posted before, a church in Rio Bravo has started a feeding program to meet the needs of starving children in the town. The kids had a blast breaking open piñatas, eating candy and singing songs! Photos 1 - 4: Hanging out with the Casa Shalom kids Photos 5 - 9: Ministering to the kids at Rio Bravo and hauling donated food for the food program Video: Teaching the children of Rio Bravo praise and worship songs!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday's Featured Child

This Friday's featured child is baby Fatima. Fatima is one of Casa Shalom's newest children and arrived with her older brother, Jorge, about 2 weeks ago. Fatima is 6-months-old and came to us from a previous orphanage that was downsizing due to lack of funding. Baby Fatima is small, but cuddly! She likes to smile and gets fussy if you don't hold her long enough! If you would like to help Casa Shalom take care of Fatima, you can become her sponsor for $30 month. 100% of your donation would go to help buy special items like formula, diapers, clothes, shoes and medicine for her. If you are interested in learning more about the Casa Shalom Child Sponsorship Program and the other children who are available for sponsorship, please visit:
To sponsor Fatima or another Casa Shalom child, please email us at:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

If you can't beat 'em in soccer, play by hockey rules!

Today, the Life Academy kids spent the morning and most of the afternoon hard-at-work on the fence. They earned some play time later in the day and spent it swinging, playing card games and most of all, playing soccer! As everyone who has played soccer against the Casa Shalom kids can testify, they are verrrryyy good! Finding their soccer skills not quite up to par with the skills of the Guatemalan kids, the Life Academy kids started doing what any good Minnesota-raised kid would do: start playing by the rules of hockey! Look below for a great photo of a group of the kids checking poor Edwin into the concrete barrier surrounding the soccer field.

Photo 1: Nicole and Victor spent some quality time on the swings Photo 2: Angel laughts after getting caught cheating during a game of War Photo 3 and 4: more card games Photo 5: Up against Edwin, one of Casa Shalom's best soccer players Photo 6: Ouch! Checked against the concrete...I'm pretty sure that's against the rules in soccer! Photo 7: It didn't matter who won or lost, the Life Academy and Casa Shalom kids are having a great time together!